Serendipity! I love that word, it’s my favourite word, so if we are ever on Mr and Mrs together, you know my answer. It means “the occurrence of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way“. A chance meeting, orchestrated by a very special lady in Norfolk, has brought our two charities together.
Team Verrico and Pseudomyxoma Survivor are two teeny-weeny charities in the grand scheme of things and they both have a passion to help those with rare cancers get the right treatment and practical advice.
We are both run by volunteers, who take no salary and we both keep our overheads to the bare minimum (though some have access to plusher facilities than others!). We do this, in order that we can direct funds to the people we wish to support. We will be working together, moving forward.
Paul Verrico, chair of Team Verrico explains more:
“My wife Anna was taken from her loving family and this world in November 2013, just 13 months after being diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. Anna and I never knew the meaning of ‘giving up’ so to make sure she didn’t ‘lose’ Team Verrico became a charity in 2014 with the aim of fighting lethal diseases especially Triple Negative Breast Cancer and supporting those affected. The charity has grown from strength to strength. We bring hope when there is none and aim to create more tomorrows. The trustees are all professionals who work full time and do our bit around our work and family commitments. We have an active Facebook community and a twitter handle @teamverrico.
“Team Verrico has 3 main spheres of activity :
- The most important is to support men and women who have children under the age of 18 who face a rare or hard to treat cancer, such as those which killed Anna and the husband of the charity’s head of marketing. The charity has a simple application form which patients fill in and which proves that they are bona fide. They then normally send patients for private consultations with the leading oncologists and surgeons in the UK – this often results in a change to treatment plans. The charity also funds genetic testing and other scientifically proven methods of treating the disease. In nearly every case that results in changes and tweaks to treatment regimens which have a very palpable effect on mortality.
- Sphere 2 is counselling. The charity supports those affected by cancer, including the patient and their family through diagnosis and beyond, bypassing long waiting lists. Sometimes this might mean supporting a widow or child 3 years down the line who can no longer cope. Applications are co-ordinated counselling through our head of counselling (a qualified volunteer) and then programmes are funded around the country local to the person needing help – the counselling is free to them.
- Sphere 3 is research. The charity supports niche low-cost research projects which do not receive funding from Cancer Research as they either focus on rare cancers or are too small to attract funding.”
These three spheres of activity, we believe, complement the work of Pseudomyxoma Survivor. At PS, we actively encourage the patient to advocate for their own health and treatment plan, support needs that a rare cancer diagnosis brings and support research. We achieve this through online and telephone support, raising awareness and attending conferences and meetings at the highest level as well as participating in rare disease and rare cancer working parties.
We, like Team Verrico, are run by a small group of volunteers who give their time for free, often starting and finishing at really silly hours of the day (Angela Brook!), in order that we can provide the best service we can.
As well as our website, we too have an active Facebook community, support the PMP Community on RareConnect and have a Twitter handle – @pmpsurvivor. In addition, we offer grants to those who need financial support and through our online community we give emotional support. In turn, this is complimented by our buddy scheme, whereby individual community members are provided with dedicated support from a fellow patient. This was our founder, Dawn Green’s, vision for Pseudomyxoma Survivor and one which we continue today.
Team Verrico has offered free assistance for those Pseudomyxoma Survivors with young families with any counselling support that they may need, within England and Wales. We at Pseudomyxoma Survivor are delighted to have access to this service, to be able to offer our this to our community, from such an established charity such as Team Verrico, and believe it is indeed a fortunate stroke of serendipity.
Chair of Pseudomyxoma Survivor